Sunday, November 19, 2017

Simple, and Delicious, The Apple Beehive From Tartine's New Cookbook.

   During the holiday season most of us wind up doing a LOT of cooking. There are always guests with particular dietary needs, whether it's gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, or low-carb. This dessert belongs in the low-carb category and I found it in Tartine Bakery's new Cookbook, Tartine Everyday. It's called the apple beehive and it is stupid easy to make. It has one main ingredient, Granny Smith apples. They're peeled and sliced on a mandolin, brushed with melted butter, a sprinkle of sugar, and baked. It doesn't get much easier than that provided you don't shred yourself using the mandolin.
   I made this dessert the weekend of the Sonoma fact the night before the wildfires started and so didn't get to post it until just now. There are only a couple of pictures to show you,  but as I said this is really, really, really, easy.

Apple Beehive

Here's What You Need:
3 lbs large Granny Smith apples
3 oz melted, unsalted butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup apricot jam

Here's What To Do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Trace about an 8 inch circle on the parchment paper, then flip it over.
Peel and core the apples, then slice them on a mandolin.
Mix the cinnamon and sugar together.
Arrange the apple rounds in a circle, overlapping the slices.
Continue to layer the apples like this building a beehive shape.
Every two or three layers, brush the apples with melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Once you have your beehive shaped mound of apple slices, brush the whole thing with melted butter.
DO NOT sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on the top layer.

Cover the beehive with a dome of tin foil and pop it into the oven for about 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes take the beehive out of the oven, wearing mitts to protect your hands.
Press the foil down gently to compress the layers of apple.
Remove the foil and put the beehive back into the oven for another 25 to 30 minutes, or until it's soft all the way through if you poke it with the tip of a knife.
During the final few minutes of baking, heat the apricot jam until it melts.
Brush the entire beehive with it when it comes out of the oven.

You can serve this warm or at room temperature. Cut it into slices and add some lightly sweetened whipped cream...or if you dare warm caramel sauce.

There it is , apples, and a mandolin making beautiful music together. Coming up next more holiday treats! Follow along on Twitter at @kathygori

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Aloo Baingan : Eggplant and Potato, A Perfect Pairing.

   Well, now that my Advil-addled stomach is on the mend, and I'm fixing my anemia it's time to talk about cooking again. The day before the fire I cooked up a batch of stuff, but the next morning we had to flee at 3 AM and so I never got to post any of it until now. Luckily, this is one of my favorite Indian comfort foods and with the chilly and rainy weather we've been having up here post fires, it's especially welcome.
   Each Spring, no matter what else I'm planting, I always guaranteed plant two vegetables, potatoes, and about 4 different varieties of eggplant. Those two are the basis or are used in so many Indian dishes that they are essentials for me. This eggplant and potato dish is one of the first I learned to cook back 27 years ago. It quick, simple and delicious. All one needs is an eggplant and a few Yukon gold potatoes.

Aloo Baingnan


Here's What You Need:

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cubed
1 medium or large eggplant, cubed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 to 2 green Serrano chilies
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and finely minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
curry leaves if you have them
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp of amchur powder (mango powder) or lemon juice
salt to taste

Here's What To Do:

Cube the eggplant and drop the pieces into a bowl of water so they do not get discolored. Set them aside.

Chop the onion and set aside.

Chop the ginger...

...and the chilies.

In a skillet or kadhai heat 1Tbs coconut oil or other vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot add in the cumin seeds, ginger, chilies, and curry leaves if you are using them.

Stir things around for a minute or two and when the spices get aromatic toss in the chopped onions.

Saute the onions until they get soft and translucent, then add the potatoes and turmeric powder.

Stir everything around to coat it add about 1/2 cup of  water.

Put a lid on the pan and let things cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the eggplant and the coriander and cumin powder, stir things around so they are well mixed.

Put a lid back on the pan, and let the vegetables cook for about 10 minutes or until everything is tender. Check and stir every now and then to make sure nothing is sticking or burning. You may add a bit more water if needed.
When everything is cooked though, add in the garam masala, and mango powder or lemon juice. Salt to taste, and finally the chopped cilantro.

This is a great warming dish, and a very basic one to start with if you've not cooked Indian food before.

It's great on the table with any American meal. It also works to serve this on a #meatlessmonday  with chapattis and a simple yogurt dish. Coming up next, a brilliant yet easy apple dish from Tartine Bakerys'  new cookbook. Follow along  on Twitter @kathygori

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Where I've Been, and Things I Lost In The Fire....Mainly Blood

 It's been a while. I had prepped several recipes to publish here and then we were interrupted by the Sonoma Fires. As I mentioned we evacuated to San Francisco for about 8 days and returned to find our house smoky but intact. We were very very fortunate as several friends lost everything.

   We were awakened by neighbors pounding on the door and ringing our bell at 3 am. When the doorbell is frantically ringing at that hour it never means anything good. Our across the street neighbor was telling us there was a big fire (actually there were about 14 fires) and we needed to get out. Now. Like right now. The picture above was what I saw at the end of our street on the East side of Sonoma. That was Gundlach Bundcshu and the Carneros fire.Those are flames over the tops of the trees. All the neighbors were leaving or gone.

 During the course of getting out of the house with the dog and whatever we could grab quickly at 3 am I hurt myself . No biggie, but I wound up in pain and so decided to take advil and tylenol to fix it. First big mistake. Taking them in a dehydrated condition with no food in my stomach second big mistake. I got pretty sick from that stuff after we'd evacuated to San Francisco and after a visit to the MD and blood tests. I discovered it caused bleeding in my stomach and I had gotten anemic. I was sent to the emergency room. The good news is that all my blood work and blood chemistry was normal.

The bad news, my blood which is normally 12 +was down to 8.2. Not enough for a transfusion, but enough to leave me weak and breathless and barely able to move around. I felt like I was on the top of Everest.
 That was two weeks ago. I am a zillion percent better than I was then and the doctor tells me it'll take about 2 months to build my blood back as I lost about 1/3 of my hemoglobin in that incident.  I am now on iron pills, B12, and Folic acid, and I 'm getting an endoscopy on Thursday to make sure I didn't give myself an ulcer. This is why I have been among the missing on this blog, I just haven't had the energy.
  So, as soon as I'm done with the endoscoipy on Thursday I will be posting one of my favorite Indian dishes Aloo Baingan and also an Apple Beehive.

Both were dishes I'd made the day before the fire and never got a chance to share.
   Meanwhile all of us here in Sonoma continue to recover.


Friday, October 20, 2017

An Oldie But Goodie Diwali Sweet Treat


We've been out of our house for the last 8 days or so due to the Sonoma Fires. Thankfully , our house is standing and we have much to be grateful for. I'll be writing more about this later and I have some great recipes cued up and ready to go. Meanwhile, it's the start of Diwali the Indian feast of Lights so here's a great dessert recipe that can be made up quickly. PS: it's also gluten free!

As I've said, I've rarely met a holiday I didn't like. Bring out the lights and the fun and the people and the food... I'm there. I'm also a very cheap date. Nothing has to be fancy to make me happy; it just has to be good. If stuff is good and sweet too, that's even better. This last week I've been making one of the tastiest holiday treats around... Indian Laddu. I've been making Laddu in honor of the Indian Feast of light Diwali, which has been going on  this last week. This photo has been making the rounds. Supposedly it's a NASA photo of India during Diwali celebration.

   Actually the story behind the photo is a myth. For the real explanation click here. I still think the photo is pretty cool however.

   Meanwhile, back at our house, it hasn't exactly been holiday time. We're nearly done with this draft of our script and are getting ready to turn it in. This means long days of work. Now contrary to what some may think, writing is not glamorous. Alan and I have been earning our living as  screenwriters for many years and I can tell you that writing is like digging ditches with your head... and that's on a good day. One of the best portrayals of a writer I've ever seen is in the film Adaptation. This is the life of a writer...unvarnished.

   He mentions a muffin. Yes, a muffin. That is something to look forward to in a writer's day. We need that little treat to keep us going. So in this last week, even though we haven't had the lights and the fun and the partying of Diwali, we have had the treats! The other day, I made some Rava Laddu. Yesterday I decided to make something that my friend Terri, who has to follow a gluten free diet, could enjoy. What better than a tasty festive Diwali Laddu made with gluten-free chickpea flour.

  The great thing about these laddu, is that they can be made very, very, very quickly. So if you've got an hour, you've got  a great dessert.

Vegan Besan Laddu

Here's what to do:
In a skillet or pan, melt a bit of butter and fry:
   2 Tbs of chopped chashews
   2  Tbs of sultana raisins.
When the raisins get plump and the nuts start to darken, take them off the flame and set them aside.

In a skillet, wok or kadhai heat 1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick) until it foams and clarifies.

When the butter has melted add in:
  1 cup of sifted besan (chickpea flour aka gram flour aka garbanzo bean flour)
This type of flour is available at Indian markets of course, and now because of the availability of gluten-free flours, it's  also found at most mainstream supermarkets.
Add the flour a bit at a time on a low heat, and keep stirring. The idea is that the flour should not roast or brown, just turn a nice, aromatic golden color.
If you need to add a bit more melted butter to things to keep the flour moist, no problem, just do so.
When the flour is nice and golden, take the pan from the fire and set it aside. When things have cooled a bit add in:
 1 cup of powdered sugar

  1/2 tsp of ground cardamom
  The fried cashews and raisins.
Mix everything together well. If you need more melted butter to make things hold together... go ahead.
Separate the dough into 12 portions...

...and roll each one into  a ball.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Let them warm a bit before eating.
I like to serve them with a nice cup of unsweetened chai.

   Believe me, when one is banging one's head against a plot point at 3 in the afternoon, there's nothing better than one of these little beauties. And they're not just for Diwali either. I'm planning on making these for my Christmas parties also.

   So what am I working on now... besides the script? A couple of surprises including koftas, India's answer to gnocchi, and something I'm surprised I hadn't thought of before. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Not Your Grandma's Green Tomatos. Green Tomato Sabzi, Quick, Spicy, and Vegan.

   Every year I plant tomatoes. They grow so easily and plentifully I usually wind up swamped by this time at the end of Summer. Things went a bit differently this year. We had a cold and rainy Spring and the early part of the Summer was not that warm, therefor I've spent the better part of August waiting for my tomatoes to turn red red red. The other day I got tired of waiting and wondered since Southerners in this country make a habit of eating Fried Green Tomatoes, how about people in other places. More specifically have green tomatoes fried or otherwise found their way into the Indian kitchen? The answer was, You Betcha!

   Green tomatoes seem to be a thing almost everywhere and I wondered just how many of those green tomato dishes were dreamed up by people like me who were hungry and tired of their tomatoes taking forever to ripen. There were a whole lot of ways to do Green Tomatoes but looking for a simple vegan version was pretty easy. Turns out that was what I was looking for for my Labor Day Vegan Indian Lunch Using Everything From Our Own Garden, a fast and simple recipe to get some use out of those slowpoke Green Tomatoes.

Green Tomato Sabzi


Here's What You Need:

3 cups of chopped Green Tomatoes
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 shallot finely chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chili
1 tsp cumin powder
4 Tbs jaggery or dark brown sugar
salt to taste

Here's What To Do:

Get yourself some green tomatoes.

Chop them into 3 cups worth.

Finely chop a shallot.

Heat 1 Tbs of vegetable oil in a skillet or kadhai.
When the oil is hot add in the mustard seeds.

When the mustard seeds start to pop add in the fenugreek and shallot.

Stir them around for about a minute then add in the tomatoes...

...cumin, coriander, Kashmiri chili and salt.

Mix everything together well then cover the pan and let cook for about 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes open the lid and give everything a good stir.

Add in the jaggery or brown sugar.

Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan again and let cook for another 5 minutes then stir again.
Take the lid off and let it further cook for another five minutes. Stir to make sure nothing is sticking or burning.

When the tomatoes are softened the sauce is ready.
Serve it up with rice or chapatti.

   It's hot spicy, sweet, and tart. A quick dish that goes from oven to table in less than an hour. This can easily be made ahead and reheated the next day for serving, always a plus when cooking on these extra hot hot hot Northern California September afternoons.

   Coming up next....more straight from the garden to the table, it's Wine Country Harvest Days follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Watermelon Granita. Got a Blender or Food Processor? You can Make This Easy.

 Since it's been in the 100s up here in Sonoma this last week with 105 expected for Labor's not exactly cooking weather. So I decided to bring back an Oldie But Goodie which is a perfect cooling dish for any holiday festivities you may have planned. I made this just last week for the CocoaPlanet gang and it was such a hit I bought another watermelon to make one for the gang at return with me now to the days of yesteryear...back back to 2012 and Watermelon Granita.

This all started when I bought a watermelon for a Labor Day Barbeque at our house. I'd had so much fun making Watermelon Mousse that I decided what this house needs is more watermelon!! I was catching the tail end of the season here for good local watermelon but I secured one and decided that I'd make the watermelon mousse again for our Labor Day guests, but then I got lazy, one thing led to another and I decided on my crowdpleasereverybodysfiveagain desert for holiday cook outs, homemade vanilla ice cream and boxes of various types of cones. Make your own ice cream cone with sprinkles or... whatever. It always works and it's always fun to see people revert, and yet I had this watermelon just sitting there taking up space in the fridge. What to do?

   I decided to juice it. A bunch of friends have recently gotten themselves fancy juicers and blenders but I've still got my trusty old Oster. No fancy bells and whistles but it works. I chunked the watermelon into the blender and  juiced it. I mixed it with some iced green tea, fizzy water, a dash of lime juice and chia seeds. I figured that everybody would be hitting the beer and I'd be the only one drinking my watermelon concoction. Boy was I wrong. I barely got any. They liked it that much. I did what any other normal person would do. I bought more watermelon and juiced it. So there I was with a pitcher full of watermelon juice and nowhere to go. There had to be something else I could do with this stuff. Something like say.....granita?

   Granita, the perfect lazy individuals dessert. Pour stuff in the freezer and stir it with a fork every now and then. It does not get very much easier than that. Want this? Grab your watermelons and you can be enjoying this within a couple of hours.

Watermelon Granita

Here's What You Need:

1 seedless watermelon
a 13 x 12 glass baking dish..or smaller if you wish
1 Tbs of sugar

Here's What To Do:

Chunk the watermelon and blend it to juice in a blender or food processor.
Pour it into the baking dish.
Stir in 1 Tbs of sugar. I do this because I want to  keep the juice from freezing into a solid mass and sugar helps prevent that.
Rake the mixture with a fork after 30  minutes breaking the juice up into icy crystals. Keep doing this at 30 minute intervals for about 2 hours or until it's icy enough to scoop into a bowl.

   While I was waiting for my juice to freeze, I was wondering just what I could do to zip things up a bit. I figured that a lot of people (okay my family) has always sprinkled their watermelon with salt. But I didn't just want any salt. How about smoked salt? How about full on barbeque mesquite smoked salt?? Why not? Couldn't hurt. So I smoked some salt in a stove top smoker. It took 20 minutes.

   Light, refreshing, and above all easy, I dished up the combo of watermelon granita with a smokey dash of mesquite. Did it work? Yeah, it worked. For real.  More cool dishes for hot weather coming...meanwhile follow along on Twitter @kathygori

Monday, July 31, 2017

Simple, Spicy, Eggplant Curry.

   We had a wet and cold Winter here in Sonoma, and our Spring was the same. It has taken forever for a lot of the things that we usually plant to bloom and ripen. I'm still waiting on a mass of green tomatoes to turn red. Meanwhile after a couple of super hot weeks the eggplants started to produce. I usually plant about 4 different varieties of eggplant so that almost anything I want to cook is covered. My little baby globe eggplants which are traditionally used for this Indian dish are still not ready but the Japanese eggplants were, so I decided to work with what I had and make a hot Summertime Eggplant Curry, using them and some of the Serrano chilies from my garden.

   This is a dish that cooks up pretty fast and also is great as a make-ahead, reheat tomorrow dish. Giving everything time to mellow is one of the best features of Indian cooking, and why not do most of the heavy lifting on a cooler Summer evening, and just simply reheat the next day?  This is a vegan dish, and the gravy is made of a mixture of nuts and seeds, you won't miss the dairy. So without further ado....

Spicy Eggplant Curry In A Nut Gravy


Here's What You Need: 

5 medium sized Japanese eggplant cut into pieces
3 Tbs vegetable oil, I use coconut oil
1 small onion chopped
1 and 1/4 tsp shallot ginger paste (1 Tbs chopped fresh ginger, and 1 Tbs chopped shallot blended together with a bit of water in a grinder)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp black onion seed
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
5 curry leaves (if you have them)
2 serrano chilies chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp Kashmiri chili
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp tamarind pulp
salt to taste
cilantro for garnish

For the Nut Gravy:

4 tbs peanuts
3 Tbs dried unsweetened grated coconut
2  tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp poppy seeds

Here's What To Do:

In a small pan dry roast the coconut, peanuts, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds.
When they start to toast take them off the fire and place them in a blender or spice grinder with a little bit of water if needed.

Grind the nuts and seeds to a thick paste and set it aside.

In a skillet or or kadhi heat 2 Tbs of the vegetable oil.

When the oil is hot add in the cut up eggplant pieces.

Cook on medium heat until the eggplants are a bit soft,(10 minutes or so.) Don't overcook them.
Take the eggplants out of the pan and place them on a paper towel to drain.
add 1 more Tbs of oil to the pan and when it's hot add in the mustard seeds.

When they start to pop add in the onion seed and fennel seed...

...the chopped green chilies and the curry leaves if you have them.

Stir everything around and then add in the chopped onions.

Cook until they're translucent then add in the ginger shallot paste.

Cook the paste for about 3 minutes or so,then add in the cumin, and coriander powder, salt to taste, and the Kashmiri chili powder.

Cook the spices for about 3 minutes then add in 1/2 cup of water to make sure they don't burn.
Add the seed and nut paste to the pan.

Add the turmeric and cook the paste for about 5 minutes on a medium low heat.
Add in the cooked eggplants...

...and two cups of water.

Stir everything around, cover the pan and cook on a medium low heat for 15-20 minutes.

When the 15-20 minutes are done the mixture will be thicker, add in the tamarind, and sugar, and the garam masala.

Stir everything together well, sprinkle in some fresh cilantro...

...and serve it up!

This dish is hot and spicy with a touch of sweet. Serve it with a simple rice dish, and some chapatti for a tasty Indian lunch or supper. Coming up next...tomatillos in  an Indian dal. Follow along on Twitter @ kathygori


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